Severe Weather

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Severe Weather Notification

If the UI issues a weather-related Hawk Alert, a warning will go out by phone, text, and e-mail via the Hawk Alert system, a banner will appear across the top of the UI homepage, and the latest information will be posted on the university's Emergency Information site.

Weather Conditions

Preparing for Severe Weather

  • Make sure that your notification information is updated on the University Hawk Alert System.  The Hawk Alert is a campus wide notification system, text and voice messaging, and email notifications.
  • Consider signing up for free weather alerts offered by local and news outlets that can be sent to your phone or email address.

Outdoor Sirens

The University of Iowa also has its own outdoor warning (siren) system. The system will be activated in conjunction with other sirens in the area to alert the public of impending severe weather. Listen to what the siren sounds like.

Tornado Terms

  • A tornado watch means conditions are right for the development of a tornado or severe weather. During a watch, staff should be alert to weather conditions.
  • A tornado warning means that a tornado or severe weather is occurring, has been sighted or indicated by National Weather Service radar.

What to Do When A Tornado Threatens

  • If you hear a siren or otherwise know a tornado warning is in effect, immediately take shelter. Do not be tempted to go outside and check conditions for yourself.
  • It is recommended to seek shelter in rooms and corridors in the innermost part of a building at the lowest level. Stay clear of windows, corridors with windows, or large free- standing expanses such as an auditorium or cafeteria. Remember, there is no guaranteed safe place during a tornado. However, it is important to seek shelter in the best location to help minimize your exposure.
  • Consider investing in a weather radio or portable radio and keep it on when severe weather conditions exist. During tornado season, stations will interrupt regular programming to broadcast critical weather information along with instructions to seek shelter.
  • Be mindful of workmates, family or friends who may be hearing impaired and unable to hear an alarm or of those who may not be aware of tornado warnings because they are sleeping, watching a movie, or listening to music.
  • If severe weather threatens, make sure everyone in your area—particularly visitors—know where to go to seek shelter.
  • If you know of others in the building, please inform them if you are aware of severe weather warnings; spread the word.
  • NEVER pull a fire alarm during a tornado warning as people will exit the building and expose themselves to severe weather.
  • DO NOT use elevators during a tornado warning.
  • Persons with mobility concerns should seek shelter in an area suggested above at the time of a tornado watch; do not wait for a tornado warning.
  • Review the tornado section of the UI Critical Incident Management Plan (CIMP) for general information.

Severe Weather Policy

Whenever possible, the University continues to function during inclement weather. Individuals should use good judgment and avoid serious risks in traveling to campus or in attending classes. Link to full policy.

Event Cancellations

To report weather-related event cancellations,

Additional Resource